Expeditions

U.S. ice scientists travel to Antarctica, Greenland, and high-elevation mountain ranges around the world to conduct field work in some of the harshest conditions on Earth. Below you can find information about current and upcoming expeditions. You can also read summaries of recent field work or view a timeline of the expeditions.



Completed Expeditions

  (Pick season from below)

2011-2012 Antarctic
Photo from Taylor Glacier project

Antarctica: Taylor Glacier Ice Coring

Point(s) of Contact: Jeff Severinghaus, Scripps Inst of Oceanography (UCSD)
Schedule: 11/8/2011 - 1/30/2012
Equipment: Blue Ice Drill
Summary: This project will develop a precise gas-based chronology for an archive of large-volume samples of the ancient atmosphere, which will enable ultra-trace gas measurements that are currently precluded by sample size limitations of ice cores. The project will provide a critical test of the "clathrate hypothesis" that methane clathrates contributed to the two abrupt atmospheric methane concentration increases during the last deglaciation 15,000 and 11,000 years ago. The project will use large volumes of ice to measure carbon-14 on past atmospheric methane across the abrupt events.


Photo from WAIS Divide Ice Core Project

Antarctica: West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide Ice Core

Point(s) of Contact: Kendrick Taylor, Desert Research Institute
Schedule: 11/21/2011 - 1/30/2012
Equipment: DISC Drill
Project Web Page: West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide Ice Core Project
Summary: West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide is a United States deep ice coring project in West Antarctica funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The purpose of the WAIS Divide project is to collect a deep ice core covering approximately one glacial cycle from the ice divide in central West Antarctica. The WAIS Divide ice core will provide Antarctic records of environmental change for the last ~100,000 years with high time resolution and will be the first Southern Hemisphere climate record of comparable time resolution and duration to the Greenland GISP2, GRIP, North GRIP, and NEEM ice cores.


Image showing field site location

Antarctica: Geophysical Study of Ice Stream Stick-slip Dynamics

Point(s) of Contact: Paul Winberry, Department of Geological Sciences, Central Washington University
Schedule: 11/15/2011 - 1/10/2012
Equipment: Small Hot Water Drill
Summary: This project will use active source seismic methods to determine the physical conditions at the base of the Whillans Ice Stream. The science team will use a small hot water drill to create the shot holes needed for the seismic work. The hot water drill is being operated exclusively by the investigator and his field team, with IDDO providing no contract driller support. For more information about the project, read Finding the sticky spot - Stagnating glacier offers array of puzzles for glaciologists to solve.


Photo showing the Eclipse Drill test at WAIS Divide

Antarctica: Badger-Eclipse Drill/Hand Auger Field Test

Point(s) of Contact: Charles Bentley, Executive Director, IDDO
Schedule: 1/1/2012 - 1/27/2012
Equipment: Badger-Eclipse Drill and Hand Auger
Summary: A Badger-Eclipse drill will be shipped to WAIS Divide for driller training purposes. The IDDO crew will familiarize themselves with its operation as the schedule permits; this is a rare training opportunity for IDDO staff and contract drillers to become familiar with the operation of an agile drill system. Several new components will also be tested, including a split ring collet and new cutters.

IDDO will also field test a newly-designed 3-inch hand auger at WAIS Divide to see how it performs in snow and firn. If time permits, the hand auger will also be field tested in sea ice at McMurdo Station and in ice at Taylor Glacier.